They’ve done it before and, the comedy gods willing, they’ll do it again. Vineyard-based writers and comedians Marty Nadler and his brilliant (if I do say so myself, as his mama) son, Charlie Nadler, will be back to making us laugh on Friday, July 7, at the M.V. Film Society.
Their upcoming appearance has been branded “The Family Business,” produced under the aegis of the hilarious Gary Marino, who brings entertainment to all points east-west-south-north of the East Coast.
Per the Nadlers, it all began with Marty and his childhood in the Bronx, when he made his early grammar school monitors laugh at his antics. In the second grade, he bought a ring from the five-and-dime store for a cute little girl, and the teacher thought he’d swiped it from his mom’s jewelry box. But it was, he still maintains, a sincere proposal.
An early stint of standup comedy in New York in the ’70s led Marty Nadler to the typical migration westward to Hollywood, more standup, and a succession of writing and producing staff work on some of the classic shows of our times: “The Odd Couple,” “Happy Days,” and “Laverne and Shirley.”
A platoon of other primetime comedy shows led to a 1981 stint on the New York-based “Love, Sidney” with Tony Randall, and that’s when the Nadlers (back when I was in the picture, and before Charlie was even a so-called gleams in our eye) bought a seaside house in East Chop on the Vineyard. A pursuit at “real” work led to Marty making customers laugh at the Old Stone Bakery and the Chilmark Store, but nothing can keep a true comedian down: Marty went to work as an on-set writer on such hit movies as “Runaway Bride,” “The Princess Diaries 1 and 2,” “Valentine’s Day,” and “Mother’s Day.”
Living now year-round in Margate, Fla., with repeated visits to M.V., Nadler faces his desk every day to bat out short stories and plays. He also got involved in a fun movie called “iMordecai” with the ever-funny Judd Hirsch, Carol Kane, and Sean Astin.
So how did Marty and Charlie Nadler end up performing comedy together? Well, let’s rewind the reel to the summer of 1984 on our Island when young Charlie — not Charles, just plain Charlie — was born at our fabled hospital. Yes, he’s a native! And that makes this mama more, she asserts, than a wash-ashore.
Baby Chuck was funny from the start, but, obviously, you can’t take a mother’s word for it. He had lots of writing DNA in his family, not only from his folks but his grandparents, Grandpa Laurence E. Mascott, a two-time Academy Award–nominated writer for his documentaries, and his Grandma Trina, with many published novels under her (capacious; kidding!) belt, including “Palm Springs,” published by Dell Publishing.
So what was a poor boy born under these deranged circumstances to do but become a writer from the earliest age? After graduating from Boston University with a communications degree, he found himself performing at his mother’s third wedding at the Aquinnah Town Hall, and loving the laughs (Karl Marx never got around to naming laughs “the opiate of all comics,” but others have coined this notion within the trade).
Charlie in his bio reveals the facts: “I owe my existence to a TV show; my parents met while writing together on ‘Laverne & Shirley.’” After the opiate of laughs at his mom’s Aquinnah wedding, he went on to release two albums, and told jokes around the world in clubs, colleges, festivals, bars, country clubs, teen centers, basements, attics, and one barber shop. After putting in time in LA and NYC, he and his wife Cary — a physical therapist — live in the Berkshires, where he also develops screenplays and dotes on their cats. Along with fellow Islander Kiar Holland, he co-founded a comedy startup called laughdealers.com.
A new benchmark for young Chuck is that in the past year, he’s thrown himself into producing comedy shows in multiple venues. And he’s pulling his dad into the mix as a celebrity headliner: After their Film Center gig, they’ll travel west to appear in two shows Nadler Jr. produces; and at the end of July, they’ll be at the inaugural Borscht Belt Fest in Ellenville, N.Y., created by the Catskills Borscht Belt Museum.
Marty and Charlie Nadler in “The Family Business,” Friday, July 7, 7:30 pm at the Film Center, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven; also featuring Vineyard Haven’s celebrated comic and Emmy-nominated writer Laura Michelle. Order your tickets at mvfilmsociety.com.